I find it interesting that there are people who base their “social media success” on how many friends, followers and connections he or she has in his or her network on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, respectively.
If that is how your company chooses to base its “success” (on a quantitative level), then more power to you and your business!
I, however, like to view social media success through a more qualitative lens. I like to think how many people in my network are engaged and responsive, versus how many people in my network do I have to struggle to get a response from?
See the difference? See how the latter question is much more difficult to attain an answer to than the former?
But how does one know IF he or she HAS achieved that qualitative success–those engaged friends, followers or connections?
Sure, there are tools and “apps” that will help you gauge your social media success. We see those types of articles frequently posted by social media and PR news hubs such as PRDaily and SocialMediaExaminer.
Here are some methods that I’ve found helpful that are not as conventional as methods you might find in other articles, and can be determined regardless of your personal network size:
If you’re looking to build a strong network, this number is very important. In essence, this amount tells you how many people are trying to connect with you or simply want to find out more about you. The lower the number, consider this: is my profile difficult to find? Have I given people enough reason/opportunity to find me on LinkedIn?
Last month, I applied at a local marketing agency [which I will refer to it as JobOne]. I interviewed but didn’t hear back from them. A few days after interviewing with JobOne, I applied and was hired at my current job [which I will refer to it as NewJob]. A week after starting my new position, I received an email from the President/CEO of JobOne, saying something to the extent of:
I was recently looking at your LinkedIn account and see you’ve found employment. I am very disappointed in my company for not getting back to you sooner. While we are very pleased and wish you the best at NewJob, I suppose this gives truth to the saying, ‘If you snooze… you lose.’
If your situation ever changes, however, please be sure to contact me, as we would gladly take you in.
President/CEO of JobOne
My first thought? WOW–they’d want to hire me.
My second thought? Potential employers ACTUALLY check out LinkedIn!
My final thought? How can I optimize my profile for other future employers to find me a strong candidate for employment?
Here are five tips I’ve found in research (and experience) on how to use LinkedIn to find a job:
Before I graduated college, I held an internship with a business incubator at California State University, Fresno, as its public relations specialist. The Lyles Center taught me quite a bit about one’s stereotypical internship — trust me, an internship isn’t necessarily just all about stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.
Rather, an internship can be whatever it is you make it out to be.
Am I still working with the Lyles Center? No.
Did I find a job thanks to the Lyles Center? Yes.
There are a few things you should know/do, in order to increase your chances of finding employment after (or during) that internship:
If you remember nothing else, remember this — With persistence, you can make things happen.
If you work in a marketing or public relations department, chances are you’ve already heard those two letters that are [supposedly] the “newest venture” of advertising: Q.R.
Then you probably sat back in your chair and said to yourself: What does Q.R. stand for? Quick Research? Questionable Response? Qualitative Reading?
The actual definition is simply Quick Response. The full title? Quick Response Code (QR Code).
What is a QR Code?
If you haven’t heard of them by now, I’ll break them down in a few easy points:
How are QR Codes being used?
QR Codes are already being used on product packaging, magazine articles, advertisements on billboards and buses and even some shirts have the two-dimensional barcode printed on them.
Some young professionals are now placing QR Codes on a printed resume (or a business card), presenting that to a potential employer, leading said employer to the young professional’s online portfolio.
Now, you may even find some churches using QR Codes to link to a religious podcast or the church’s website to find additional information from the bulletin.
How can I generate a QR Code?
Initially, I was under the impression that I’d have to hire someone a couple hundred dollars to generate a QR Code for my LinkedIn profile (see image at the top of this post), but it turns out I didn’t have to spend a penny!
There are a few different QR Code generating websites to which you simply input your URL and a barcode will develop for you, in seconds:
Very easy, isn’t it?
Where have YOU seen QR Codes? Have you scanned any of them? What did you think? Were they useful?
Photo by Flickr user: LaMenta3.
Internal use of social media is something that businesses are slowly beginning to adopt. Some companies use social media outlets (e.g., Facebook accounts, personal blogs) to develop a strong internal voice for employees, wherein they are able to express their concerns or suggestions about their work. Other businesses have specific social media websites that allow employees to connect with one another, in hopes of forming a more comfortable work environment.
In researching this fairly new trend, I ran across three main examples of how businesses are internally utilizing social media.
For the avid social media user, blogs are nothing new. There are two primary types of blogs: the public-driven and the internal variety. The public blogs can offer consumers a more intimate view of a company’s product or the employees of the business. From a business perspective, the public blogs can provide targeted content to the public, in hopes to raise revenue or simply interest in the product it is promoting.
Kodak’s public blog is a prime example of this targeted content: the majority of the posts focus primarily on photography and not Kodak’s cameras. Since common sense tells us that photographs can only be obtained through the use of a camera, Kodak is then targeting an audience that would genuinely care about their product (the camera). From there, the audience is more likely to transition from “blog reader” to consumer.
The second type of corporate blog, the internal variety, is primarily used as a community hub where employees are able to meet, share their latest work-related news or troubleshoot any business challenges they are facing. This type of communication is essential in the field of public relations, as practitioners need to stay on top of the latest news and trends, to develop the most relevant campaigns.
In addition, this internal communication provides unity amongst employees who voice their concerns or opinions and are promptly attended to.
Some might argue this as an office version of Twitter. Companies must set up their own corporate account and only then, can employees use their work e-mail addresses to create their own internal account.
With Yammer, business can create profiles and employees can update their company on either progress on a current project or simply how lunch was. This internal social media outlet offers the opportunity to improve internal communication while simultaneously boosting team morale.
From a public relations perspective, Yammer also introduces many employees to the uses of other social media websites (like Twitter). The more familiar and comfortable the employees are with forms of microblogging, the more likely the company will be able to pick up Twitter accounts as both a customer service and product marketing channel.
This corporate social tool is similar to the public social tool, Digg. Pligg can be customized solely for corporate use, in which all social activity among employees will relate to a product or brand. Some companies are building Pligg into their existing intranets, in an attempt to develop social bookmarking with their staff.
From what I’ve discovered, Pligg can be used as a website to motivate an employee’s thinking of an idea through the use of a voting and ranking system that has made its counterpart (Digg) such a large success. A company’s ability to call upon the staff to offer unique thoughts or ideas and voice their experienced opinions in one website is helpful, to say the least.
Ultimately, companies are able to make the most out of internal use of social media by being able to harness collective thinking and collaborative efforts among employees, for a greater outcome.
I assumed that all college students viewed social media in the same manner: Facebook is the main source of interaction and the easiest way to make friends. To college students, I assumed, friendship was truly validated by accepting a friend request on Facebook.
I assumed incorrectly.
Over the past two weeks, I conducted a series of interviews with students of California State University, Fresno, to try and gain a true understanding of why college students use social media.
I was able to obtain responses from six students, but only four of them were willing to give their answers on camera. The input I received was interesting and proved that many students are more knowledgeable about social media and social networking than one might expect.
What types of social media do you use and why?
At the start of each interview, the student was asked which social networking websites he or she was an active user of. Aside from the popular Facebook and Twitter, many students are active users of MySpace and Tumblr. Two of the students said that they have Flickr and Xanga accounts, but rarely log onto either website.
The second part of the question grew the most interesting, as each student gave his or her reasoning for using these social tools. Overall, the six students that participated, used social networking to simply keep up with their friends. For these students, social networking has become a platform by which one person can communicate to a multitude of people.
How do you believe other students are using social media?
“Without Facebook, I don’t know how I’d get through college,” one student said in her interview. “I think other students find comfort in knowing that there’s a place where they can post their feelings and somebody is going to listen to them.”
The common theme in the responses I received was that social media offers college students a channel to vocalize their opinions and feelings. Students are comforted in knowing that somebody is going to listen to what they have to say.
While one student believed that social media (Facebook, specifically) was a platform for college students to waste their time and “rot in front of a computer screen,” most interviewees were aware that social media is going to play a large factor in their futures.
Here are some of the responses students told me:
Should social media be incorporated into the classroom setting?
There were mixed reviews on this topic: while some students believed that social media should become part of curricula, others believed that it should be kept a separate entity, something for personal use.
Most students believed that social media shouldn’t be part of a professor’s lesson plan, but should be made available for students to have open communication about the class itself. Trisha Rodriguez, a child development major at Fresno State, believed that social media could be used as a communication channel for students to obtain clarity in the classroom. She proposed a Twitter account be created for a specific class, or a Twitter list (with a hashtag) that would allow students to ask class-related questions and get short, quick responses.
Overall, students believed that social media shouldn’t be completely ignored. They each commented that social networking would make a nice addition to the classroom setting, but (depending on the specific class) should not be a part of the curricula.
Here are some of the responses students told me:
How do you believe the job market is effected by social media, if at all?
I was surprised by the amount of awareness each student had when it came to their perception of others on the Internet. Most students said that they knew one needed to be careful of how they presented themselves online, as it could effect their getting employed with any company.
“You need to be able to censor what information you put online,” said Allyson McCaffrey, psychology major at Fresno State. “A picture of you, drunk, at a party can paint a negative image of you.”
One student believed, however, that employers should show respect for their employees and completely ignore how that person is presenting themselves on the Internet.
Overall, students were aware that employers are now using social media as part of a background check on potential employees, before (and during) employment. While Facebook was once considered a simple social website, it can now be considered a large contender in how easily you get hired.
Here are some of the opinions students had on social media in the job market:
Students seemed to have a strong grasp on the severity of social media in our lives. They believe that it can be used in both a selfish and professional manner. Overall, I found that students believed social networking websites to be communication platforms.
College students have a lot to say–they simply want a place to be heard.
One might call it an epidemic: high school and college students are no longer talking in person, as their primary means of communication is found online, on Facebook. Others see it as a godsend: businesses can now reach out to consumers in ways they would have never imagined, more than 20 years ago.
With Facebook having more than 500 million active users and Twitter claiming more than 106 million registered users, it seems almost mandatory that businesses focus their attention to the online community. Of the variety of outlets that businesses now have in the world of social media, I examined three main websites that businesses use primarily and tried to discover why they’re using these outlets.
Facebook has become the online tool for business to connect directly to communities and to consumers. Online forums still exist, but began to fade as Facebook’s popularity grew. Facebook’s 2006 decision to open itself up to third-party developers sparked this decision. If you’ll recall from an earlier post I created, “Facebook for Everyone,” I closely examined how public relations professionals could utilize Facebook to their advantage.
I’ve found that businesses tend to use Facebook in a means similar to that of public relations practitioners. There are two primary ways that businesses get engaged in this specific social networking website: groups, and business-to-consumer communication.
An excellent way to keep interested consumers informed about your business or organization is to develop a Facebook Group. Facebook groups are an in-depth means of communication for businesses to focus their attention on a specific subject (e.g., a seasonal sale or a new product launch).
People will join a business’ Facebook group because they want to stay informed about the business. Therefore, it is imperative that a business continually update their group with valuable information. Unlike spam e-mail or bothersome “junk mail,” Facebook Groups can be visited at a customer’s convenience–businesses must have the information available.
We live in a busy world, to say the least, and now most people don’t have the time to sit and read a full-length blog. Twitter offers its users a place to update the most valuable information of a company (or a person’s life) in a concise manner (140 characters or less).
The smart business is not using Twitter as an advertising channel, wherein they continually talk about their products or services. Most businesses use Twitter as a marketing channel to promote their own business profile and remain involved with their “followers.” Some companies utilize Twitter as a medium to promote special deals and because of Twitter’s broad reach, thousands of “followers” receive the information instantaneously on their computers or mobile devices.
One can argue that this once-popular social networking site began its downfall in 2006, with Facebook making itself openly available. MySpace.com, however, still offers itself as a good means of social marketing and some businesses still use it.
Marketing oneself on this social website, however, can be a bit tricky–many community members look down upon blatant commercials and advertisements. MySpace is sometimes seen, by some, as a place to simply advertise oneself rather than develop one’s personal brand. What I tend to find on MySpace is smaller brands or personalities developing profile pages that build an online following rather than marketing. Browsing through the profile pages on MySpace, it’s easy to find hundreds of music bands with MySpace pages.
One tactic that nonprofit organizations are using to build their brand, is having “fans” recommend their organization to friends online. Yet another tactic is to have employees build personal profile pages on MySpace and spread the message of the nonprofit through details shared on these personal pages.
As with all good marketing strategy, it’s beneficial to develop useful content for followers, friends and fans to read. Businesses need to adhere to what their customers want and create messages that will be most advantageous to those consumers.
Ultimately, this all begins with choosing which social networking site will be best for your business.
**For a map of a few Fresno businesses that maintain a social media presence, click here.
There are millions of blogs on the Internet, and with millions of blogs come millions of opinions. For most, a blog is a “safe haven” or a place where one can share personal opinions and viewpoints to millions of people (or, at least to those who will take the time to listen). It’s simple for anybody to log on to blogging sites such as Blogger or WordPress and create a professional-looking blog in a matter of minutes.
What many people forget is that there are some public relations professionals who use blogs to not just share personal viewpoints, but organizational and professional ones as well. Public relations professional Dave Fleet, for example, won’t simply blog about the day’s happenings, but will use his blog as a means of “exploring the intersection of communications, marketing and social media.” Brian Solis also offers an astonishing amount of public relations knowledge through his blog.
As for myself, I’m not a professional–I’m a student. I’m slowly learning processes and tips on how to become that public relations professional I aspire to. From some of the research I’ve done, I’ve concluded on three reasons for public relations professionals to blog.
1. Be aware of the conversation around you. In doing public relations work, it’s important to know what the public is thinking about you or your company. If the conversation about your organization is going downhill, you’ve got to run ahead of it and stop it.
In blogging, you’re able to monitor what others are saying about your or your business. Keep up with the ever-opinionated society and ask for their feedback on your blog. You can’t be successful if you don’t listen.
2. Get yourself out there! Join the conversation. In the field of public relations, you need to be proactive. A reactive professional is not going to succeed far in his or her career. By participating in the conversation of those around you, online, you’re able to stay on top the public opinion.
You want a large amount of readership for your blog. Go out and get it. The Internet is ideal for you to network yourself or your company to its maximum. Get yourself out there and interact with others in your industry.
3. Start writing and develop the conversation yourself. Everybody wants to hear positive feedback. We cringe at the thought of people “not liking us” or “what we represent.” That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to conform into something we’re not. Take control. Blogging, for public relations professionals, is an amazing opportunity to take the reins and start forming the conversation about the industry yourself.
Develop a blog that people are going to talk about. They might not agree with what you’re campaigning for, but people will start talking. Why? Because of you.
You might find a blog of interest, one that might inspire you to let your voice be heard around the world.
In public relations, if you want to be successful, you’re going to have to become familiar with social media. When you’re asked, ‘what is social media,’ your response will probably be limited to websites such as Twitter and Facebook. If this were a test, your answer wouldn’t be completely wrong–but it wouldn’t be completely correct either.
Some might argue that social media is a multi-dimensional means of communication, connecting one person to many. Others might say that ‘social media’ is a term that currently describes user-generated content but will soon become obsolete when the entire Internet becomes social. The point is that we don’t want to limit our definition of social media to a couple of social networking websites. There are hundreds of social media tools available to everybody that help define what social media is. Some of these tools are free, while others require monthly fees. Every tool can work to your advantage, however, if used properly.
I’ve done a little research and found information on five social media tools that I can’t wait to utilize as I grow in my career.
The website does just as it states: it helps your social media productivity. This tool allows users to schedule tweets in advance that will appear on your Twitter account when you schedule it. You also are given the option to post recurring tweets or one-time posts.
There are two types of accounts that you can develop with socialoomph.com: the free or the professional. While the professional offers a few additional features, the free account will still help you get your job done.
On May 5, 2010, Twitter released a new tool that helps enhance the use of your tweets (or the tweets of others). Blackbird Pie is a tool that allows you to easily embed tweets into websites or blog posts.
The methodology is simple:
– Copy the URL of the tweet that you want to embed.
– Go to Blackbird Pie and paste it into the white box on their site.
– Hit “bake it” to process the URL and you’ll be given an HTML code.
Here’s the catch: it only works well with WordPress.org users and is not too pretty with WordPress.com users.
If you’re a WordPress.com user (like I am), and that second social media tool upset you, I apologize. For now, we can still use screenshots to embed tweets into our posts. Kwout.com is a very simple way to allow us to embed tweets for emphasis.
The steps are quite simple with Kwout–simply take the URL of the tweet you want to embed and paste it onto Kwout’s “demo” bar. After you hit the “kwout” button, it will guide you through how to edit the screenshot. The website will produce an HTML code that you can use to embed the image of the tweet into your blog.
Not only do embedded tweets make for a nice visual component to your blog post, they also can emphasize a certain point you’re trying to convey. Here’s a simple tweet I took from my Twitter account.
These five tools that I researched are only a tiny piece of the larger picture of social media. Don’t be intimidated or reluctant to try something new. The fact is: if you engage in social media, you’re more likely to succeed in the industry.
I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the professors in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at California State University, Fresno. Professor Betsy A. Hays sat down with me last week and discussed her view on how the public relations industry is evolving with the developing world of social media.
In her 11 years working with Fresno State, Professor Hays believes that we now live in a world where communication channels are practically endless. She believes that the media needs public relations professionals more than ever, as a means to receive information.
The most important thing, however, is content. If you don’t provide the world with valuable content, nobody is going to care.
Throughout the course of her interview, Professor Hays discussed the following topics:
– How has the field of public relations evolved since the development of social media?
– Should social media be incorporated into the classroom setting?
– What are some good ways to utilize social media to promote one’s own personal brand?
– Should teachers and students interact on social networking websites?
The video is only a five-minute clip of a 30-minute interview, displaying only some of her responses. Other portions of the interview will be posted at a later time.